MIN-GB grades: Rodgers on fire as Packers roll over Vikings

The Green Bay quarterback continued his scorching second half as the Packers downed the Vikings Saturday.

| 4 months ago
(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

(Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

MIN-GB grades: Rodgers on fire as Packers roll over Vikings


Green Bay Packers 38, Minnesota Vikings 25

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Green Bay Packers’ 38-25 Week 16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings:

Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback grade: Sam Bradford, 75.2

Bradford’s play and grade improved during garbage time

While Vikings QB Sam Bradford has only maintained good health long enough to reach Week 16 three of the past six seasons, garbage time efforts enabled him to attempt 50 or more passes and post 380-plus passing yards in Week 16 of the past two seasons. However, the numbers must be qualified to the product of the desperate game situation — in other words, grains of salt abound.

sam-bradford

Top offensive grades:

WR Adam Thielen, 83.9
RT
Jeremiah Sirles, 77.2
C
Joe Berger, 73.1
TE Kyle Rudolph, 75.0
WR
Stefon Diggs, 61.2

The Adam Thielen show for the Vikings

While a large majority of the Vikings offense was accumulated during garbage time, that was not the case for WR Adam Thielen. While the Minnesota State University product found success within each of the Packers’ defenders’ coverage, he simply torched second-year CB Quinten Rollins – resulting in 122 receiving yards and one touchdown on seven targets.

Top defensive grades:

LB Anthony Barr, 88.3
LB Eric Kendricks, 84.3
DI Linval Joseph, 77.6
ED
Danielle Hunter, 71.8
CB
Xavier Rhodes, 51.9

Vikings secondary dismantled

The linebacker duo of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks seemingly warped throughout Lambeau Field and into the forefront of nearly every play. Barr would record four defensive stops, a quarterback hit, one pressure, and limited his four coverage receptions to an average of five yards after the catch. Kendricks collected an impressive trio of sacks, six solo tackles, a team-high five defensive stops, and held his coverage responsibilities to under two yards after the catch per target.

Green Bay Packers

Quarterback grade: Aaron Rodgers, 93.1

Rodgers king in the north

Love him or hate him, a Hall of Fame induction is a mere formality for the former Golden Bear, Aaron Rodgers. In fact, only the Patriots’ own future Hall of Fame quarterback, Tom Brady, can hold a candle to the play from Rodgers since Week 7 of this season. Rodgers and Brady have left the competition in the dust over that time, with Rodgers passing for 26 touchdowns to only three interceptions, and doing so with a 77.1 adjusted completion percentage. Rodgers saved his best effort of the season to avenge the Week 2 loss to Minnesota, posting his best grade, and recording a passer rating greater than 135.7 within a clean pocket, when under pressure, and when blitzed.

aaron-rodgers

Top offensive grades:

WR Jordy Nelson, 86.1
RG T.J. Lang, 79.9
LT
David Bakhtiari, 79.4
WR
Geronimo Allison, 77.4
C
Corey Linsley, 75.7

Receiving unit far more than a complement

It would be a safe bet to assume that WR Jordy Nelson is 100 percent healthy after missing all of 2015 due to a knee injury. The Packers’ coaching brass schemed for Nelson to rotate his positioning on the field and resulted in him collecting 9-of-11 targets, 154 receiving yards and two touchdowns. However, the numbers also reflect that Nelson recorded receptions within seven different defenders’ coverage. The other notable effort at receiver came from the rookie wideout out of Illinois, Geronimo Allison, who managed to develop a noticeable timing between he and Rodgers and, if a sign of things to come, could accelerate the Packers toward a serious championship run.

Top defensive grades:

ED Clay Matthews, 87.7
CB
Damarious Randall, 80.2
LB
Jake Ryan, 79.1
CB
Micah Hyde, 78.8
S
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 77.0

Tale of two halves

Several defenders played well against the Vikings, but the overall play would diminish during the fourth quarter, and the one consistent performance that stood out above all was submitted by edge defender Clay Matthews. Easily recording his top grade of the season, Matthews recorded a strip-sack, three other pressures, two batted passes, and three defensive stops. A portion of the blame for the late collapse can be accounted for by the defensive change to a prevent defense after building an imposing lead.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, 93.1

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| General Editor

Chase is a General Editor at PFF, focusing on the site’s NFL content strategy. His work has been featured in ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, and The Cincinnati Enquirer.

  • cka2nd

    Assuming the chart for Rodgers is correct, the last sentence of the preceding paragraph needs to be corrected: “…and recording a passer rating greater than 135.7 within a clean pocket, when under pressure, and when NOT blitzed.” Also, you have Joe Berger listed as a Center, but he played Right Guard today.

  • GBPfan

    That Dom prevent D sucks…

    • Chad Lundberg

      Agreed. Even if we have a 5 point lead, it drives me freaking nuts. If I’m GB’s opponent, I know that we’re in the game no matter what, even with just 6 minutes left on the clock because they’ll happily give us the yards.

      But regardless, I’m a huge fan of a dominating win. I wanna see the score of our opponent kept to below 13 because damnit the Packers can do that if they wanted to.

    • Backinmd

      Agree.. But as long as Packers beat Dallas in the playoffs is all I care about … Packers are on fire AND peaking at the right time …. DAK will self destruct in the playoffs …

  • RSR1DRIVER

    Garbage time yardage, nonsense.GB was looking to shut down Vikings and a little too late for Minny. GB better hope they don’t get Atlanta or Giants, translation, teams with a real offense.

    • Chad Lundberg

      Even if what you say is true, GB has a more than competent offense to match any other in the NFL. Their secondary is just really inexperienced, but they are very talented. Very possible GB’s secondary turns the burners on and shuts down opponents, much like they did against SEA.

    • Backinmd

      Giants do have a great offense, especially with Beckham and their RB That’s the good news .. Bad news is Eli has been so inconsistent this year and thrown a lot of interception …Packers & Rodgers are on fire and peaking at the right time ..BTW , Beckham can accelerate faster than a jack rabbit ..

  • Rolo Tomassi

    You mean Flaming

  • Brian Dugan

    This 5 game winning streak has been phenomenal for the Pack, but the defense (especially the secondary) still has a lot of cracks. As a Packers fan, you gotta worry a little about the defense living and dying with turnovers so much.

    Detroit’s game plan will very likely continue with a ton of quick passes from Stafford, decreasing the risk of turnovers and lessening the effect of a Packers’ pass rush.

    • pydsigner

      It was 38-13 with 5 minutes to play.

      • Brian Dugan

        A counterpoint: Sam Bradford had 382 yards and 3 TDs. Adam Thielen had over 200 yards receiving.

        • pydsigner

          Sure, but 118 yards + 2 TDs (Bradford) / 47 yards 1 TD (Thielen) came in the last 8 garbage time minutes of the game. Another 71 yards and shared TD came on a rare blown play by Clinton-Dix. In the other 52 minutes of the game, Bradford had 200 yards + 0 TDs and Thielen had 100 yards. I can live with that.

          • Brian Dugan

            I hear ya, but that “rare blown play” hasn’t been so rare overall this year for the Packers D. Ha-Ha has been terrific this year; Morgan Burnett has really looked great down the stretch. However, the CB play and the Packers D’s propensity to give up huge plays is definitely scaring me as a Packers fan.

          • Nick Perry

            I’m with you Brian, I’m really concerned about the Packers secondary. Losing Shields in week one was huge but the nagging injuries to Randall and Rollins are just as concerning. I don’t think either Randall or Rollins are as bad as their stats might indicate.